Hey hey. Hope you all had a great Halloween week. We filled a 6qt. dutch oven with chili for friends and it was all but cleared out.
You will notice that we are repeating a member favorite… THEE favorite, second only to the honey fudge. As part of our plan, there may be a repeat of a favorite here or there. The intention here is not to cut corners, but to stay true to our mission. We desire to make dinner easier on people, and for them to feel more comfortable in the kitchen. In my experience, that comes with knowing how to do something confidently, and that usually takes trying it more than one time. My hope is that as we occasionally repeat favorites, they become yours, and you feel more assured in your dinner skills - that you can make the avocado sauce without a recipe or you swap in shrimp now because you’re looking for a change from salmon.
A few of you have asked about my most used tools. We have a page that lists a handful of my favorites. You may have noticed I use a food processor quite often, so I thought I would mention the one I have and love in case you’re looking for one. It’s a big ticket item, I am aware, but these are workhorses and I’ve had zero issues with mine. Knives also seem to be an issue. You deserve a sharp knife and at least one good chefs knife if you are the one cooking all the time. I mostly use Cutco (which I just realized they sell on Amazon!). I could work with this knife alone if needed. Anyway, if there are any questions on equipment, check the site first, and let me know if you have any questions!
- The tips on getting started page now has a video about how to bookmark weekly entries. If you're finding that your bookmarks sometimes take you to a page you weren't expecting, that video explains why and how to sort it out :)
- Per request, we've added a button at the bottom of the weekly grocery lists.
- Comments, questions or suggestions? Submit your feedback here.
I am assuming you have sea salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and a higher heat oil, such as avocado oil or coconut oil. Check your stock on these before you head to the market, and check off any other items you may already have. As you continue to use these recipes, you will see repetition of my favorite ingredients. For example, while real maple and pine nuts are pricey pantry staples, they won’t sit in the pantry, you’ll use them in upcoming weeks. Use bulk bins at your local health food store to buy in smaller quantities if you prefer.
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MEAT & DAIRY
recipe 01: Fall Vegetable Orzo
The roasted vegetable summer orzo on the blog is a pot-luck favorite, so I went for a fall version. Heartier, sweeter vegetables, tossed with a bit of orzo. This is best served at warm-ish to room temperature. Think of it like pasta salad, but a little less… salami-ish?
You want to chop the vegetables on the small side, as noted in the ingredient list. They incorporate in with the pasta better this way. The ratio here is about 2:1 veg to pasta, which is how I like my pasta, but you can pull some of the vegetables out for another use if you prefer.
Tips of The Week
make ahead: the vegetables can be roasted up to a day in advance.
use it twice: double up the vegetables. It is nice to have extras on hand to throw on salads, or serve with any other quick protein you’re making this week.
kid friendly: I skip the blue cheese for them, otherwise, these are pretty kid-friendly ingredients.
gluten free: I have seen gluten free orzo, but it is usually mostly corn based. If that is of concern, you can use any short pasta you like, or quinoa.
dairy free: the cheese is optional, but for sure adds some depth here
low carb: you can skip the orzo, and just do a jumble of roasted vegetables on a bed of arugula.
2 small yellow beets, peeled and cut in 1/2” cubes
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
1 delicata squash, seeded and cut into 1” pieces
12 oz. brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved or quartered depending on size
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
sea salt and pepper
1/2 lb. orzo
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. fresh thyme, stems removed
2 big handfuls (about 2 ounces) of arugula
crumbled blue cheese, optional
toasted pepitas, optional
Preheat the oven to 425’ and start a large pot of boiling water for the pasta.
On a rimmed baking sheet, collect all your vegetables. Drizzle 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to mix and spread in an even layer. If it looks really crowded, use a second sheet pan. Roast in the upper third of the oven for 20-25 minutes until everything is just browned and tender. Remove to cool.
While the vegetables roast, cook your orzo according to instructions. Drain, rinse and cool a bit. Transfer it to a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil, cider vinegar, another pinch of salt and pepper, and the thyme. Stir to mix. Add the vegetables, arugula and give it another stir.
Serve each portion with a crumble of blue cheese and some toasted nuts.
recipe 02: Thai Cauliflower Rice Bowls
Maybe I am the only person who likes warm temperature dishes? You will notice in the directions that the top list of vegetables all stay raw, and then mixed with the cauli rice. Since we’re in the cooler months and you may want warm food, it is also an option to add all these vegetables in with the cauliflower to warm through. I don’t love warm cucumbers, so you could pull those out, maybe toss them with a little salt and vinegar, and use them for garnish on top with the avocado, cashews and herbs at the end. Use your discretion to make a cold, crunchy salad, or a warm dish. The sauce is what makes it delicious, temperature is your preference.
Most markets sell cauliflower that is pre-riced. If you start from scratch, cut the florets away from the stem, and pulse them a few times in a food processor until it resembles grains of rice, scraping down the sides as needed. Do not over pulse, or you’ll end up with a puree.
Tips of The Week
make ahead: You can save some prep time by chopping all the vegetables in advance. The sauce can be made up to three days in advance and kept covered in the fridge.
use it twice: I would make extra peanut sauce for other sorts of bowls. It works great with an easy tofu and vegetables stir fry or to dress a cabbagey slaw.
kid friendly: Mine prefer this all warmed, with bits of chicken or salmon included. Also, always, wraps!
for the salad
1 bell pepper, small dice
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
1/2 a small red onion, small dice
2 Persian cucumbers, small dice
1/2 a small head of purple cabbage, finely shredded
1 mango, small dice
1 bunch of cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 bunch of mint
1 large lime
sea salt and pepper
Nub of coconut oil
1 medium-sized head of cauliflower, *blitzed into “rice”, about 3 cups (or 1 lb. bag riced cauliflower)
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
2 avocados, for garnish
Toasted cashews, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish
for the peanut sauce
1/3 cup creamy, salted peanut butter
2 Tbsp. water (or coconut water)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
Juice of two large limes
2” nub of ginger, grated
1 large clove of garlic, grated
Dash of fish sauce, optional
2 tsp. honey or agave nectar
2 tsp. soy sauce or tamari
Sea salt and pepper
Put all the prepared produce in a large mixing bowl. Chop the cilantro and mint, add that too. Squeeze the lime over everything, add a pinch of salt and pepper and toss everything to mix. Set aside, room temperature or in the fridge.
Heat the coconut oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the riced cauliflower, pinch of salt and pepper and sautè until it begins to soften. Add the coconut milk and sautè another 2 minutes until softened. Set aside to cool down.
When the cauliflower cools, make your sauce. In a bowl, combine the peanut butter, water, rice vinegar, juice of both limes, grated ginger, garlic, fish sauce if using, honey or agave and tamari. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and whisk everything together until smooth. Taste for seasoning, if you like some heat, add a dash of sriracha or cayenne. Add water or lime juice to thin if needed. Keep it mind it will firm up in the fridge.
Add the cauliflower to the bowl of vegetables and toss everything together. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve the salad at room temperature, with the peanut sauce, avocado and toasted cashews on top.
recipe 03: grilled wild salmon tacos
This was the recipe that so many of you were anxious to have a copy of once you realized that previous weeks dropped off, so we’re going to give it another run. If you are looking to change this up, some shrimp, portobello mushrooms or tofu can all be substituted in place of the salmon. It is past salmon season, so you will for sure be using frozen, or previously frozen salmon. It may look *fresh* at the market, but if you read the package, they just did the thawing for you ;) Totally fine, still tastes great.
If you do not stock these spices, your favorite taco seasoning will do. Just be sure to adjust the salt accordingly as many of them are generously salted to start.
An indoor grill pan can be used in place of the real deal, just be sure it is pre-heated and well greased as fish has a tendency to stick. I’m trying to keep these recipes really simple, but if you have an extra 10 minutes to make pickled onions, there are quick instructions in the Tips of the Week below.
Tips of The Week
Make Ahead: make the avocado sauce and spice paste 1-2 days in advance. Same goes for the pickled onions (extra credit below), which will last in the refrigerator for a month.
Use It Twice: prepare extra salmon, double the sauce, and use it for entree salads or another meal. Dress sturdy greens (kale, romaine or a mix) in the creamy sauce thinned with more citrus. Top with leftover salmon, diced cucumber, sliced peaches, baby tomatoes, and toasted nuts. The sauce is great for any sort of grilled skewers, bowls, etc.
Kid Friendly: depending on age, we find burritos to be easier for our kids to eat than tacos. The salmon is not spicy, combine the above in a larger tortilla, or try it with cooked black beans, rice and avocado if you can't pass off a cabbage slaw.
Vegetarian Option: Use two, large portobello mushrooms in place of the salmon. Use the same marinade, add a few minutes to the cook time on either the grill or in the oven. After grilling, dice the portobellos into chunks to use for filling.
Gluten Free: 100% corn tortillas are naturally gluten free. Larger health food stores stock tortillas, such as Siete, made from alternatively gluten free ingredients.
Low Carb: skip the tortillas and use crispy romaine leaves as a “taco shell.”
Extra Credit: quick pickled onions: 1 peeled red onion, sliced thin. Warm 1/2 cup white wine vinegar, 1/4 cup water, 1 tsp. sea salt and pepper, 1 bay leaf. Put the onion slices in a container that has a lid. Pour the warm liquid over the onions, put the lid on, store them in the fridge until ready to use. They will last a month.
For the Salmon
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
1 tsp. chili powder
dash of cayenne
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. cumin
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1.5 lb filet of wild salmon or fish of choice
fresh lime, to finish
For The Avocado Sauce
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 a bundle fresh cilantro
1 jalapeño, mostly seeded
1/4 cup roasted pepitas/pumpkin seeds
juice of one large lime
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp. sea salt, to taste
2 medium avocados, pitted
3-4 cups finely shredded cabbage
1/2 a bundle of cilantro, roughly chopped
6 green onions
toasted pepitas, for garnish
hot sauce, optional
pickled onions, optional
Heat your grill to medium low heat. Clean and oil the grates. If the grill sounds like a hassle, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Make a paste by mixing the oil, chili powder, cayenne, maple, cumin and salt. Rub it onto the flesh of the fish and let it sit about 15 minutes.
While you wait, make the sauce. In a food processor or blender, combine the garlic, cilantro, jalapeño, pumpkin seeds, lime juice, olive oil, water, salt and pulse a few times. Add the flesh of the avocados and pulse again until combined, but not completely pureed. Your going for a consistency that's thinner than guacamole but thicker than salad dressing. If it looks too thick, taste, and add lime juice or water to thin. Taste for seasoning, set aside in the fridge. Sauce will keep about 3-5 days.
Grill the filet, lid closed, to medium doneness, about 8 minutes. I don’t like flipping the fish on the grill, it’s a mess, so I just cook on one side until it's done. If you’re using the oven, roast the salmon about 10-15 minutes, depending on thickness (you can assume about 10 minutes per inch). Transfer the fish to a platter and let it rest for a few minutes. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the top. Gently flake apart the fish for taco filling.
Toss the cabbage and cilantro with a bit of the green sauce to coat. Warm the tortillas. Assemble your tacos with a spoonful of sauce, portion of fish and generous topping of slaw on top.
Garnish with pepitas and pickled onions, if you've got them.
recipe 04: Date Granola Bars
Ok, ya’ll asked for kids snacks and lunch box bits. I put almonds in these at home, but cannot send them to my kids’ preschool that way. If you’re also in a nut-free situation, you can use a shared yield of pumpkin and sunflower seeds in place of the almonds.
This mixture can also be rolled into balls and chilled. If you’re feeling generous, a sprinkle of chocolate chips can go in the processor too.
Tips of The Week
make ahead: These can be made three days in advance, and kept in an airtight container.
1 cup pitted Medjool dates (about 10)
1/2 cup almonds (slivered, whole, it doesn’t really matter)
Pinch of sea salt
Dash of cinnamon (about 1/2 tsp.)
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup of old fashioned oats
1-3 Tbsp. water, as needed
In a food processor, add the dates and almonds. Pulse about a dozen times to get coarse pieces. Not a paste, just little pebbles of dates and nuts. Add the salt, cinnamon, coconut oil, coconut, oats and water and pulse again, until it all begins to stick together, and look a bit more homogenous in texture. If the processor can’t move it, add a small splash of water, one tablespoon at a time, until it looks sticky.
Line a pan with parchment paper - a 8-9” if you want them thicker, or something longer if you want a thinner bar, as pictured. Get your hands damp and press the mixture into the pan, in an even layer. Put it in the fridge to chill for at least an hour. Cut them into rectangles or squares, and keep them stored in the fridge until ready to eat.
No, they do not *have* to be refrigerated, but they are tender at room temperature and can fall apart more easily. Handing them to my kids chilled, makes for less crumbs.